East Central wins at NJCAA tourney
By By Marty Stamper / EMG sports assistant
March 19, 2004
SALINA, Kan. The Kansas jinx was officially put to rest on Thursday as East Central Community College knocked off Lake Region (N.D.) State College 74-66 in the NJCAA Division I Women's National Basketball Championship.
ECCC got its 30th win of the season and advances to a noon contest today with Weatherford (Texas) College, 25-10.
ECCC went 0-2 in the 2001 tournament at Salina's Bicentennial Center and was 0-1 this time around.
ECCC snapped its 0-for-Kansas skid by the method that's seen the Lady Warriors win 30 of their 33 games thus far… a lot of players contributing.
Eleven Lady Warriors had seen action by halftime. Kristin Chaney finished with 18 points, four rebounds, two steals, and two assists. She played a team-high 34 minutes. Kimyatta Viverette had 11 points, 11 rebounds, and four blocks. Kotreece Bender had 10 points and five rebounds. Rita Birden added eight points, Lenore Gray had seven points, four rebounds, and three steals; Britney Burks had seven points and three steals, Monique Overstreet had six points, and India Backstrom had five points and six rebounds.
ECCC jumped out to the game's biggest lead by scoring the first 10 points over the first four minutes, but the Lady Royals drew even at 22-22 behind 12 points from Jen Streifel, who frequently got behind the Lady Warrior defense for runout layups.
Streifel had 16 points by halftime as the Lady Royals carried a 35-32 lead into intermission. Lake Region outrebounded ECCC 25-13 in the first half. ECCC's defense, however, did force the North Dakota team into 20 first half turnovers.
The Lady Royals took their biggest lead of the game at 40-35 on a 3-pointer with 16:25 remaining.
The Lady Warriors responded with a 12-0 run to go up 45-40. Chaney had two big plays in the run as she converted a pair of three-point plays in a 15-second span to tie the game at 40, then give ECCC a three-point lead. The Lady Warriors never trailed again.
Viverette's three-point play with 9:21 remaining was a prime example as she pulled down two offensive boards before finally putting the ball in the hole and drawing a foul for a 58-52 lead.
Lake Region closed to within 60-57 on a 3-pointer with eight minutes left before Birden scored back-to-back baskets to give ECCC a 64-57 advantage with 4:13 left.
Viverette made two free throws 70 seconds later for a nine-point lead and Bender, Viverette, Burks, and Chaney combined to go 8-for-8 at the line over the final 51 seconds.
The Lady Warriors made their last 18 free throws and were 24-of-29 for the game.
Lake Region, 24-10, got 21 points from Streifel and 11 each from Olga Sevim and Jen Conely.